Anne Truitt: Wanting What I Can’t Have

HirshornTruitt

“Artists are thrust straight up against the wave of their ambition in the world as well as their ambition for their work. Unless they like being rolled over and over on the sharp pebbles of their inconsistencies, they have to dive through this wave into understanding” Anne Truitt: Daybook The Journal of an Artist.

 

I have curly hair, I always wanted straight brown hair and I can still hear my mother’s words – “you always want what you can’t have” as she yanked the brush through wayward tangles, snapping my neck backwards.  Not only do I still want smooth, brown, tangle-free hair, but I also want my art to be as sleek and ordered as a brunette on a still day. Having just finished reading Anne Truitt’s Daybook I couldn’t help but feel it doesn’t matter what we want, we find comfort in others like us. She found that moment in the work of Barnett Newman and I, in her words. Despite the comfort of knowing other artists feel the same insecurities, the pebbles of inconsistencies still roll around my work.

Musicians Love Dogs and Writers Love Cats

I am reposting this art quiz I created years ago. Time flies! Just click on the How much is that doggie in the window link below and give it a try. It anonymous and if you took the quiz all that time ago- how’s the memory?

The inspiration for it came from this article by Emily Temple that recently linked from one of my blogs about David Hockney.

I’m a dog person so I think that means I can’t write (or perhaps shouldn’t).

This week my library pick up was wonderful Dogs in Australian Art by Steven Miller. Does it get any better – art and puppies in one book, and it’s not heavy! But wait it gets better. My favourite artist Noel McKenna has my breed of dog -SNAP! (here’s a work he did based on lost dog posters)

Tim Storrier brought his dog Smudge to share in his glory of the win at the  Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery NSW so I have decided to share the love and do another quiz – I know about time! This time it centres around doggies and artists. Don’t worry I have another quiz especially for cat-lovers here

Take a stab: How Much is that Doggie in the Window?

Grayson Perry Sailing out of the Dodgy Art Pool

GP Opera House 2015Sometimes our very human desire for meaning can get in the way of having a good experience of the world” Grayson Perry.

Detail You are Here pot

Detail You are Here pot

Not much scares an Essex transvestite potter except the “dodgy art pool”.

I spent the day visiting a great exhibition Grayson Perry: My Pretty Little Art Career at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. I had a marvellous lunch atop the MCA, overlooking the Opera House where Perry would give a talk later in the day on How To Be an Artist Just Like Me. I think as an artist you tend to look for talks, trawl art magazines and even attend art workshops in the hope that you understand the artist better and even anticipate that a little bit of magic will rub off.

GP_MCA2015

The greatest piece of advice came from Perry, who had fearlessly donned flamboyant orange tights, pink perilous platforms and a shimmery blue nappy-like costume, that he was frightened of ending up in a craft store.  We all are familiar with the type of store, coloured glass platters, decorator cushions, crafty wood items and pottery. His advice to sail out of that world, be brave and head for open waters to explore the world beyond. Take risks, make mistakes. After seeing the work in this mammoth exhibition I don’t think there was ever a danger of Perry being moored on the fatal shore of the dodgy art pool.

 

The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman

The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman

Prep sketches for the Tomb

Prep sketches for the Tomb

Shrine to Alan Measles 2007

Shrine to Alan Measles 2007

Sketches for The Upper Class at Bay tapestry

Sketches for The Upper Class at Bay tapestry

 

 

 

 

Country vs Western

SH Ervin: Country and Western

SH Ervin: Country and Western

With an exhibition titled Country and Western, I had expected more grit, more dust and more western instead I got colour and country.  The SH Ervin rarely disappoints when it comes to curation and quality of exhibitions and this collection of works were great. In this case the Country refers to the indigenous view of landscape, and Western the non-indigenous. The mix and meandering of cultural pull from a star-studded line-up is more than just names. The result is a thick blanket of landscape to wrap yourself in, sometimes prickly, sometimes light and comfortable, sometimes rich and heavy.

From Ronnie Tjampitjinpa Kintore NT to Gertie Huddleston in the Gulf to John Olsen at Lake Eyre

From Ronnie Tjampitjinpa Kintore NT to Gertie Huddleston in the Gulf to John Olsen at Lake Eyre

Gavin Wilson’s curation is insightful and delivers more than just a collection of landscape, it feels right, evenly weighted and nourishing.  He has impressed me before with his curation of fire-inspired art, Fireworks. At the moment I am reading John Olsen’s biography by Darleen Bungey so the Olsen work felt like a friend and his Lake Eyre work seemed to feel like a link between country and western somehow.

 

The artists are way too many to list but include Tracey Moffat, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, John Peart, Elisabeth Cummings, Rover Thomas, John R Walker, Ken Whisson, John Wolsley, Euan MacLeod, Ricky Maynard, Noel McKenna, Paddy Bedford. Check them out here

 

 

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J R Walker and Emily.

J R Walker and Emily.

I’d Like to Do That

photo-19De Kooning always had a theme in the back of his head, according to my book Elaine De Kooning: The Spirit of Abstract Expressionism Selected Writings. He would see something and say “I’d like to do that.”  I had said that to myself just a little while ago.  There always seems to be something to paint, some subject to convert to oil.  I have been saving a collection of photos for a body of work that will translate to paintings.

Car parks. When I go grocery shopping I see shapes and colours. Concrete wet or dry can transform into wonderful shades of grey. Angles and extensions and roof-top vents make interesting subjects against rectangular skies.

photo-18The book is a wonderful collection of essays by Elaine De Kooning that gives an insight into the work of artists such as Franz Kline, Hoffman, Rothko, Albers and many more. Some of the essays go into interesting details first-hand of technique and materials and written by herself as an abstract artist so I am finding this book has a unique perspective.

A bit like my view of car parks.

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My Volume is Turned Down.

Yesterday I listened to Andrew Christofides talk about his work in an exhibition titled Square One at Wollongong City Gallery. I was envious of his quietness – both in painting and manner. He talked about his influences and his preference for the quiet artists – Kasmir Malevich, Vemeer and Titian.  Once again I was delivered one of those serendipitous moments.  This week my library books were one on Kasmir Malevich and another on Titian. Is the universe asking me to turn down my volume in painting?

At what point did Malevich and Mondrian leave all the rest out of their work, pare the objective down?  There was a small Ralph Balson work that Christofides had also made reference to. It was blocks of colour overlaid and simply beautiful.

I have always admired these painters and while the hard-edge abstractionists never quite fitted me, I have the temperament and touch of a red-haired gestural painter. I felt that perhaps I need to go back. Control the mark making even more. Turn down the volume.

Once again I know it won’t last, next month I’ll return to Canberra for a return visit of the abstract expressionists and I’ll want the volume full blast.

 

Secrets in My Garden

Sketch of my geranium at loralyn- Windang sketchbook

The garden is where I watch and think. Some people ask me if  I miss my old home. I shake my head, it’s just stuff but I miss my garden. I wonder how the trees have grown, what spots of the paths are covered. What birds are nesting. Are the swallows still allowed in my studio. Are the big black sulphur crested cockatoos screeching and stripping my hakeas. Are the ashes beautiful colours now in autumn.

I have saved a small piece of my garden in this one small sticky geranium.

 

 

 

 

It was originally in Yvonne Boyds garden at Bundanon. I broke off a small piece and it came home for a while, was potted and re-planted.

 

 

Although broken and re-stuck it emerges with a dainty coral coloured petal every now and then. It’s a stolen momento that lives in my new garden. I have snapped pieces and passed them on to other artists in their gardens.

Geraniums have always had a special meaning for me.

From Sundays Garden Growing Heide Lesley Harding & Kendrah Morgan

My new gift, a book on Sunday Reeds Garden at Heide is a reminder of how much artists and gardens are connected.


Thank you to the secret gardener for inspiring me on a cold autumn day to get out and look at my secret geranium.

The Home Duey System

From my new gift book Sunday’s Garden by Lesley Harding & Kendrah Morgan

What am I reading is never a simple question. I have my categories of books and you can see by this blog, I like to categorize. They go like this:

Peter Sharp: Will to Form Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.   The Art Book:   This is a book solely about art, artists, art history, art art art.

Dogs in Australian Art by Steven Miller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.   The Library Book:   Currently on borrow from one of a few libraries I belong to- so can be sub-categorized into which library. Also can fall into most categories except the Train as I am prone to adding to State Rail Lost Property Book Section.

Just Kids by Patti Smith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.   The Train Book:   usually a shorter, easier read made for stops and starts and distractions. Can also fall into Art Book Category

A History of the Land Purchased for the Building of Port Kembla Steelworks by DK Reynolds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.   The Research Book:   This book as the name suggests directly affects the art practice. It is usually a historical record of places, artists or mythological stories. Sometimes text books. Yum.

Grimm’s Fairy Tales from Sue’s Ipod

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.   The Ipod Book:   This is a similar category to the Train Book, made for shorter reads but always happens to be fairy stories, fables (aesop mainly) or childhood books. Handy for extended unexpected waiting periods.

Dirt Music by Tim Winton read by William McInnes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.   The Listening Book:   I have an old tape player in the studio so I like to listen sometimes when I paint. Can be sub-categorised into Tapes, Records and Podcasts.

Sundays Garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.   The Gift Book:   This can throw the whole category system out of whack. It may mean that Library Books need to be returned before their due date, Train Books need to be read in a house to move things along, Ipods are left uncharged in the excitement and I have no time to paint and listen.

Wishin’ I Could See Whisson

I’m discovered and forgotten, discovered and forgotten and it will go on…..”

"Verbs"Ken Whisson’s painting used to be tucked around a corner near the lifts at the National Gallery in Canberra. I felt like grabbing it and giving it centre stage. Shaking it in front of people and saying “Look, look!” instead the NGA underwent massive reconstruction and in the jumble of works -it moved! Yes. Heide Gallery in Melbourne is having a whole Whisson show and unfortunately I can’t make it but I have the next best thing -the catalogue (no surprise Glenn Barkley has contributed to this wonderful book).

Ken Whisson Perugia 1990 Photo Clare BreitnerHis paint is fresh and lively, I’m wishin’ I could smell it.

Too many exhibitions, too big a world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Musicians Love Dogs and Writers Love Cats

I am reposting this art quiz I created almost 4 years ago. Time flies! Just click on the How much is that doggie in the window link below and give it a try. It anonymous and if you took the quiz 4 years back- how’s the memory?

The inspiration for it came from this article by Emily Temple that recently linked from one of my blogs about David Hockney.

I’m a dog person so I think that means I can’t write (or perhaps shouldn’t).

This week my library pick up was wonderful Dogs in Australian Art by Steven Miller. Does it get any better – art and puppies in one book, and it’s not heavy! But wait it gets better. My favourite artist Noel McKenna has my breed of dog -SNAP! (here’s a work he did based on lost dog posters)

Tim Storrier brought his dog Smudge to share in his glory of the win at the  Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery NSW so I have decided to share the love and do another quiz – I know about time! This time it centres around doggies and artists.

Take a stab: How Much is that Doggie in the Window?